Neurologist "Oaklander sees many patients whom she describes as "bouncing around the health care system" for years with no firm diagnosis. She divides chronic pain sufferers into two groups. "One is the group that has an ongoing cause of their pain," she says. "The classic example of that is patients with arthritis. They have pain in their joints every day." Much more difficult, she says, is the second group: "Patients who have chronic pain without an obvious cause of tissue injury."
Connick falls in the second category, Oaklander says, noting that X-rays show broken bones, but not nerve damage. "It was only many years later when he was examined by a neurologist that his underlying nerve injury was identified and able to be treated," she said.